Above: Sophie, Stefanie and their busy kids
Photograph: Esther Horvath
Sophie Koven is one of those busy Greenwich moms whose kid-shuttling needs require a detailed flow chart. With four children ranging in age from fourteen to one, Sophie conservatively estimates she spends six hours a week driving children to various schools, activities and sports commitments.
Carpools do help, but they come with their own inherent complications: long, drawn-out text conversations about other parents’ ability (or inability) to pitch in, and the glitches that happen when one kid has lacrosse practice the same time another has last-minute choir rehearsal— inevitably on opposite sides of town.
Sophie and her friend, Stefanie Lemche, a Westport mother of two, were convinced there had to be a way to reduce all that gas-guzzling idle time spent in the school pickup line and making solo crosstown trips. “It felt silly. It felt like we shouldn’t need Excel spreadsheets or endless text sessions to figure out who could or couldn’t carpool somewhere,” says Sophie. The friends decided to create a marketable solution. Drawing on their diverse professional experience and passion for greener transportation practices, the women teamed up to create GoKid, a free downloadable smartphone app designed to eliminate some of the most common roadblocks to efficient carpooling.
GoKid’s many smart conveniences include allowing multiple parents to join a specific carpool group and block off times when they can or can’t take turns driving. Parents can even track the day’s designated driver through the app’s built-in GPS device. “So if your child’s ride is late, you can actually figure out when they’ll be in your driveway,” Sophie says.
At press time, the GoKid app was set to hit the Apple store this fall. Sophie hopes GoKid ultimately delivers more carpooling efficiency and fewer needless solo trips. “The dream is that by using it you save on gas, you save on wear and tear on your car, but maybe the biggest thing you’ll save on is time.”